In the UK, numerous pieces of legislation relate to dogs and dog ownership. Responsible dog owners should be aware of such legislation and their broad implications. The following are some of the legislative controls in place to tackle well-known dog related problems.
For information regarding the control of dogs
The law defines a stray as a dog in a public place that is not under the charge of a keeper. An Authorised Officer has the right to uplift any animal he suspects to be a stray. Stray dogs are a problem for the following reasons:
- The dog can cause injury to itself
- The dog may act aggressively towards members of the public
- The dog can cause road traffic accidents
- The dog might worry, chase, or attack livestock
- Stray dogs contribute to dog fouling problems
Excessive and continuous dog barking can cause a lot of ill feeling between neighbours and often leads to intervention from local Authorised Officers. Dog barking is defined as noise caused by continual barking from a dog(s). If the noise is so loud, frequent, and prolonged as to interfere with the normal activities of an occupier, then there are sufficient grounds for complaint. Common examples of nuisance barking are: dogs that bark every time they hear a noise; dogs that bark long after the initial trigger has gone; and dogs whose barking is not under control.
Private Legal Action – Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982
Private individuals can pursue the following action for dog barking.
An individual, but not a local authority, can consider taking formal action under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982. The relevant section of the Act is Civic Government (Scotland) Act Section 49 of which Subsections (2) and (3) state:-
2. A District Court may, if satisfied that any creature kept in the vicinity of any place where a person resides is giving that person, while in that place, reasonable cause for annoyance, make an Order requiring that person keeping the creature to take, within such period as may be specified in the Order, such steps (short of destruction of the creature) to prevent the continuance of the annoyance as may be so specified.
3. An Application to a District Court for an order under subsection (2) above may be made by any person.
You must appear in Court on that day with any witness you may have. It will be up to you to convince the Court that what you say is true. Alternatively, you may employ the services of a solicitor to undertake this on your behalf. For more information of if you wish to proceed you should contact your local JP Court. There may be a fee associated with making these applications.
There are many reasons why dogs might bark. It is important to understand these when trying to resolve the barking problem. Common causes are:
- Bored or frustrated
- Attention Seeking
- Area the dog is in is too small
- Defending territory
- Dog gets enjoyment from barking
- Medical Problems
Barking Dogs are a nuisance at best and can severely impact on the well being of local residents at worst.
Ideally a dog will not be allowed to develop the habit of uncontrolled barking as it will be trained from an early age and not allowed to entertain itself in that way.
You may however, adopt an older dog with a barking habit – all is not lost, it will take time but it can be prevented or stopped. Old dogs can learn new tricks.
If necessary keep a house line on the dog to allow you to catch it and control it if it starts to bark. Work out what causes it to bark and reduce its access to that stimulus. For example if it barks at people passing in the street do not allow it to look out the window or stand at your garden gate.
If it barks for attention, ignore it and leave the room. If it barks at animals on the TV, switch the TV off until it is calm and distract it with something pleasant then train it to be calm when it is calm put the tv back on.
If your dog barks when it is left alone and you think it is suffering from separation anxiety seek the help of a professional to assess the behaviour and design a plan to help your dog.
It is an offence for any person who is in charge of a dog not to immediately remove any excrement and dispose of it appropriately. Excrement should be picked up and disposed of in a responsible manner by either depositing it in the nearest dog waste bin, litterbin, or in your domestic waste at home.
If you have seen someone allowing their dog to foul and then not picking up, if you are able to identify this person and know where they stay you can report this to your Local Authority. In order to issue a fine to this person they will have to take a statement from yourself. It is important that you know the exact time, date and location on the incident.
All dogs must be microchipped by the age of eight weeks. It is illegal for any breeder to sell or otherwise transfer a puppy to a new owner unless it has been microchipped and the breeders details recorded on the database.
Other Legislative Measures
This Act makes it an offence for any person to allow any creature, including a dog, to cause injury or danger to any other person who is in a public place or to give that person reasonable cause for alarm or annoyance.
It also allows any person who is given reasonable cause for annoyance by any animal where they reside to apply for a Court Order requiring the owner of the animal to reduce the nuisance.
This Act makes owners and keepers responsible for ensuring that the welfare needs of their animals are being met. These include the need:
• For a suitable environment (place to live)
• For a suitable diet
• To exhibit normal behaviour patterns
• To be housed with, or apart from, other animals (if applicable)
• To be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease
This Act covers the licensing of cat and rabbit breeders, pet shops, animal rescues and sanctuaries- came into force on 1st Sept 2021.
An Act to make provision for Scotland with respect to civil liability for injury or damage caused by animals, the detention of straying animals and the protection of persons or livestock from animals.
This Act makes it an offence for the owner of a dog to allow it to worry livestock on agricultural land. This piece of legislation is enforced by the Police. The term ‘livestock’ covers sheep, cattle, goats, swine, horses and poultry, while ‘agricultural land’ covers land used as arable, meadow or grazing land or for the purposes of poultry, pig farming, market gardens allotments, nursery grounds or orchards.
For this piece of legislation to be used, the dogs must be found attacking or chasing livestock or at large, that it is not on a lead or under close control, in a field or enclosure containing livestock. An offence is punishable by a fine on the owner or keeper of the dog of up to £1000.
These regulations require persons selling young dogs or cats (less than 84 days old) to be licensed to do so by the Local Authority. Cease to be in force September 2021
This Act requires that a licence be obtained from the Local Authority for any premise that is providing accommodation for dogs.
When in public, every dog must wear a collar with the name and address of the dog owner inscribed on it or on a tag attached to the collar.